KOLKATA – Kuldeep Yadav’s maiden hat-trick and a fluent 92 by Virat Kohli helped India cruise to a 50-run win over Australia in the second one-day international in Kolkata on Thursday.
Yadav once again combined with fellow wrist-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to dismiss the visitors for 202 in 43.1 overs while chasing 253 and earn India a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck early after removing the two Australian openers, including David Warner for one, in an inspired first spell that lasted six overs.
Skipper Steve Smith, who made 59, and Travis Head then forged a 76-run partnership as the duo tried to steady the innings by counter-attacking the Indian bowlers.
But the introduction of spin once again proved troublesome for the visitors, with leg-spinner Chahal sending back Head for 39 and then the big-hitting Glenn Maxwell for 14.
Maxwell, who looked threatening with two sixes during his brief stay, was stumped by wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was quick to clip the bails off.
Smith, though, carried on the good work to register a gritty 50 in his 100th ODI, but the delight was short-lived after he fell to paceman Hardik Pandya.
Yadav, plying just his ninth ODI, then turned on the heat with his triple strike in the 33rd over that spelt doom for the visitors.
He got Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar and Pat Cummins to become only the third Indian after Chetan Sharma and Kapil Dev to ever record an ODI hat-trick.
Marcus Stoinis remained unbeaten on 62, but his valiant knock came too late in the day as Kumar wiped up the tail.
Earlier, a fine batting effort by Kohli made India post 252 all out in 50 overs after the hosts elected to bat first at Eden Gardens.
India depended on a 102-run second-wicket stand between Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, who made 55, to start strongly before the Australian bowlers struck back.
Fast bowlers Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson claimed three wickets each.
There was also a bit of drama in the 48th over of the Indian innings when Pandya was caught off a no-ball, but Smith ran him out, only to see the batsman walking off the ground following a slight drizzle.
Smith and company tried to argue with the on-field umpires for their run out call, but it was in vain.
The third match is scheduled for Sunday in Indore.